Happy 50th Michael Jordan

by Kenny Eller on February 16, 2013

Michael Jordan

 (Friday, February 15th)

Slouched down in a forest green metal chair, with just the right amount of padding in the seat to keep me content, I know that Sunday is Michael Jordan’s birthday.

I’ve known when Michael’s birthday is for most of my life.  Maybe it was all of the books and magazines I read about him when I was a kid.  Maybe it was the back of the basketball cards.  Maybe it was because he’s the reason I play ball.  He’s the reason there is a mevsMJ.com.

I’m 11 floors up in the most luxurious hotel in Central Florida, past the sliding glass doors, on the balcony connected to my room.  It’s the first of morning and there is a slight chill dancing in the air as I sit alone, overlooking the mostly empty pool and golf course.  I can hear the constant gentle rush of the fountain down below mixed with the occasional song of birds and light child laughter.

It’s peaceful.

– Reminiscing –

When I first began attempting to “Be Like Mike” I had metal brackets in my mouth pulling with all of their might to close the large gap between my two front teeth.

The smile I have today, not originally my own.

I was so innocent then.

I remember being in 8th grade gym class on the outdoor basketball court the day after my braces began renting space.  The pain was excruciating, as the fight to correct my genetics had my nerves wailing like Stephen A. Smith.

I was horrible at the game.  Couldn’t dribble.  Couldn’t shoot.  It seemed as though every single person was better than me.

I remember to this day, stopping in the middle of playing and asking one of my peers in those early times how they could make turn around shots.  I didn’t understand how they knew where the goal was.

I can’t help but chuckle at those moments now.  It was after all, back then, where mevsMJ began.

– Emotion –

My eyes flood with tears as I sit and take time to reminisce.  Some fighting to stay in, but too heavy to hold on, fall to freedom.

I‘m emotional about this game of basketball.  I’ve loved it longer than anything else in my life, outside of my family.  I’ve spent years on courts all over because it brings me something that I can’t yet adequately describe.  Something that I’m still attempting to fully comprehend.  A sort of perfect oasis, even for a guy who was far from blessed at the game in the beginning.

I care greatly about this game and owe knowing it to Michael Jordan.

Without him my life would be so very different.

– Basketball & Life –

Basketball helped make me the man I am today.  It helped build my confidence when I had little of my own.  It showed me teamwork, as well as, how sometimes, like Mike, you’ve got to take it upon yourself and just get it done.  It also showed me that if you work at something, if you pour your heart into it, there really is no limit on where it can take you.

True never before told story:  After the first few dates with my wife, I went where I always go when I have things on my mind.  I went to use up some of the excitement that was bouncing off my insides.  I went to the court, my home away from home.  I remember taking shots, hard difficult shots, telling myself that if I make this, she’s the one.  I made them and she was exactly that.

I of course would never have left such a life choice up to chance, but I always found peace after talking with the game.

Basketball has been my refuge.

I went from watching on the side of the court as a youngster just hoping to get run time in, to years later being the guy to take every shot.

Now nearly 23 years later, I’ve got young people calling and texting me weekly wanting me to help them shoot the ball better.

To go from traveling on back to back possessions in my first homeroom basketball game in middle school, to helping others is beyond humbling.  It’s an example of what’s possible in life.  I take the opportunity to help young people very seriously.  It’s such a gift I’ve been blessed with.

Without Michael Jordan I know that wouldn’t exist…around the game anyway.

– The Journey –

The journey here began over 2.5 years ago with a rather self-centered goal of playing MJ in basketball.  It was about me and MJ.

That however transformed into WE just a few months in.

Due to the response my walk generated, both good and bad, it became my goal to inspire and offer proof that anything is possible with faith and hard work.

For years, I had struggled with understanding why God made a small kid (I was only around 5’3″ then – currently 6’2″) fall in love with a game he had such a tough time with.

I’ve tried nearly every other sport during my life, but none of them tugged at my heart anything like the game of basketball.

It never mattered that I was more predisposed to success in other sports.  That round ball and 10 foot hoop always kept calling my name.

I never grasped the reasoning until I began this site.

– Face to Face with MJ –

Seven months ago I walked towards Michael full of hope.  I was living every single letter of the dream.

We talked, smiled and laughed as if he knew what the time meant to me.  He seemed to thoroughly enjoy the fact that I was brave enough to wear my shirt in his house.  He seemed to enjoy the fact that I was the me and he was the MJ in mevsMJ.com.

Proof of his liking would be found moments after we began talking, when he brought over one of his closest friends and allies, Fred Whitfield, to check it out.

Michael couldn’t have been more gracious.

It went how a storyteller would tell it.

– 50th Birthday –

Michael’s birthday will be celebrated all month for his greatness on the court but I celebrate his 50th for a different reason.

I celebrate it because I can’t imagine not knowing this game.  It’s been such a huge driving force in my life.  I value the pain and the pleasure it has brought me.

Now the game has become a vehicle for me to help and inspire others.  To show as I stated earlier that anything is possible with faith & hard work.

What a blessing.

I owe all of that to the man that grew up as Mike, who is globally known as the greatest, the MJ in mevsMJ.com, Mr. Michael Jeffrey Jordan.

Happy 50th Birthday Mr. Jordan!  I appreciate you.

me vs. Michael Jordan…the worthwhile journey continues.

1 Game – me vs. Michael Jordan – Anything Is Possible with Faith & Hard Work!


If you’re new here, I set out in August 2010 to get a game of 1-on-1 vs. my childhood hero Michael Jordan.  This site is about that journey…through every valley, to every mountain top of triumph!

Anything Is Possible with Faith & Hard Work!


Connect:  Twitter (@KennyEller) and mevsMJ.com Facebook Page.

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